Gift will support physician education on identification and treatment of addiction

For immediate release: March 14, 2007

GALVESTON - Galvestonians Robert L.K. Lynch and his sisters Deborah and Kathy Lynch have contributed $50,000 to the Center for Addiction Research at the University of Texas Medical Branch, according to Susan Coulter, UTMB vice president for university advancement.

The contribution will establish an endowment to support training for future generations of physicians about addiction diagnosis, prognosis and clinical care, Coulter said. Funds will also help to support the research and career development of junior faculty members who show promise as addiction scientists and educators.

"Millions of Americans suffer from addiction, and hundreds of thousands of lives are lost every year." Robert Lynch said. "Our family feels that much can be accomplished by teaching young physicians how to identify and treat addiction."

According to statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, one in every eight Americans suffers from addiction imposing a considerable economic and emotional toll on the nation.

"We are grateful for this family's willingness to help us make a difference," said Dr. Kathryn Cunningham, director of the Center. "Alcohol abuse is the third leading preventable cause of death in our country and is a factor in almost half of all deaths in motor vehicle accidents."

Addiction is associated with liver disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurological damage as well as psychiatric problems such as depression, anxiety and antisocial personality disorder, she said.

The UTMB Center for Addiction Research is seeking to understand the mechanism underlying addiction and to develop new tools for diagnosis and new medications to prevent relapse. It hopes to expand medical curriculum to provide evidence-based training to medical students and residents on the causes, consequences and treatment of addiction and to provide educational resources for the community-at-large. For more information on the center, see the web site at http://www.utmb.edu/addiction.
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